Pet Tips 'n' Tales

Micro-Chip-Magic
- Helping Pets Find Their Way Home -

Courtesy Photo

Rachel, her husband Jeff, and son Nicholas.

Rachel holds Star, a four-pound Chihuahua. One cold winter night, Rachel crawled under a barn to rescue Star who was starving and wounded. 

Star did not have a microchip, so her original guardians remain a mystery. She has since been adopted into a new loving home.  Nicholas is holding their family pet Scout.

TALES
 
Losing a pet is easy.  The hard part is bringing them back home-until the invention of pet micro-chips.

Recently, during a move, a woman's dog disappeared. Distraught, she posted its information on a Lost and Found Internet Site.  

A reader suggested she phone the city and county public work's departments and ask if their crews had picked up a dog like hers. She put LOST fliers up in her area and at the vet clinics. She phoned her dog's micro-chip company and had it  listed on the Hot Dog list for missing pets.  She spent hours walking streets checking for its body.

Days later, someone left an anonymous message on her answering machine. "Today, while out walking, I saw your dog's dead body."

Losing a pet is filled with frustrations and worry, but now the woman was tossed into grief.

Then unexpectedly, her micro-chip company phoned that her dog was found alive--twenty miles away.  She was confused why someone would phone reporting her dog's untimely demise.

The micro-chip company said that dogs are often stolen for the purpose of selling for profit. The woman was surprised at how far, in a such a short period of time, her dog had traveled.

No matter how many signs she had posted, people twenty miles away would never have seen them!  The dog's micro-chip, was the only link in reuniting them.

Losing a pet is frustrating for the owner, and for the finder as well.  The family who found the wandering dog spent time and money trying to find its owner.

The good Samaritans "went house to house" asking if anyone recognized the dog, finding no success they took it home: bathed it removing street dirt, fed it, gave it a flea treatment, and took it to a veterinarian clinic for a health check and micro-chip scanning. The micro-chip was the dog's ticket home.

National news featured another dog whose micro-chip reunited him with his family.

When Sailor went missing from his home in Virginia his disappearance was reported to the dog warden, the pound, and the sheriff's office. His owners eventually gave up looking assuming he was dead.

Months later, a man phoned saying he had their dog. The dog's owner nearly hung up, thinking he was a prankster, until he explained, "I am with Florida Animal Control."

She responded, "We thought Sailor was dead?"  Confused, he asked, "Isn't your dog's name Sampson?"

The excited woman knew this was a legitimate phone call, because Sailor was called Sampson when he was adopted and micro-chipped. She and her husband immediately drove ten hours to Florida to reclaim Sailor who was being held in a pen with another dog.

Sailor's reactions upon seeing them proves that misplaced animals experience the same emotional trauma as their guardians.  "When Sailor saw us he was so excited that he trampled the other dog running to us," she explains.

After Sailor's 600 mile drive home, he jumped from the car and ran over to their daughter's bedroom window looking for her. He cried and whined until their daughter arrived home. And when he saw her, he exploded with excitement!

Sailor, a pure bred, may have been stolen for breeding, but the thieves were unaware that he was neutered and cruelly abandoned him. Once again, a tiny micro-chip was the link that reconnected this family. Micro-chips are the size of a grain of rice and inexpensive compared to the heartache of losing a pet.

Lost pet information: 1 in every 3 families loses a pet, each year 6-8 million pets enter shelters, of these pets 3%-4% of the dogs and 1% of the cats are micro-chipped.  When the information on the chip is up to date, these pets are quickly reunited with their families. 

Only 2% of cats without microchips return home.

Realistically, 95 percent of the other pets never make it back to their original families.  Each month HomeAgain reunites 10,000 lost pets with their families.  That is 120,000 happy endings a year!


TIPS

Have you moved? Immediately update your pet's micro chip ID records. Once, Mary Ellen "Angel Scribe" rescued a cat and its micro chip information was outdated, making it impossible to return the sweet cat to its family.

"If you find a lost pet, vet clinics and humane shelters have micro chip scanners available. Pets with chips are reunited with their owners in 24 hours or less, the other pets options are weeks in a shelter, or euthanasia.  A visible phone number on your pet's collar allows its finder to contact you directly. The problem is that most dogs found, have lost their ID collars, so that puts us back to micro-chipping," admits Rachel.
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